Red Panda Facts

Michael Bryan

Michael Bryan

20 Aug 2020

Red panda on a tree on a sunny day

Red pandas are cute and fluffy creatures, but they are often under the shadows of the giant pandas. How exactly are they related to the cuddly giant pandas? Find out with these red panda facts!

  1. Currently, the red panda’s population is less than 10,000.
  2. The red panda’s lifespan is only eight to ten years. However, in captivity or at the zoo, it can reach up to fifteen years.
  3. Red pandas can run up to 40 kmph.
  4. Both male and female red pandas have an average weight of 3 to 6 kg.
  5. Scientists found out that female red pandas can eat up to 20,000 bamboos in a day.
  1. Red pandas are native to southwestern China and the eastern Himalayas.
  2. Red pandas are mammals.
  3. Ailurus fulgens is the red panda’s scientific name.
  4. The International Union for Conservation of Nature listed red pandas as endangered species.
  5. Its population has plummeted due to poaching, habitat loss and fragmentation, and inbreeding depression.
  6. Red pandas reach their maturity at eighteen to twenty months.
  7. The young or baby red pandas are called cubs.
  8. The cubs’ ears and eyes are shut or sealed for about 2 to 3 weeks of age.
  9. Cubs normally stay with their mothers in their birthing dens for around ninety days.
  10. Red pandas defend themselves using its sharp claws, as well as inflicting a powerful bite.

 

  1. They are solitary animals and only go in pairs during the mating season.
  2. They are also known as the “lesser panda.”
  3. They have reddish-brown fur with a long, hairy tail.
  4. Red pandas have four short legs.
  5. The red panda is as big as a regular house cat.

Table of Contents

Red pandas eat a variety of food.

The most common food of the red panda are bamboos, fruits, succulent plants, grubs, eggs, and insects. They also prey on smaller species of mammals and birds occasionally.

Wild red pandas only live in Asia.

As of today, wild red pandas only live in remote mountain territories above 4,000 feet in a few countries in Asia including Nepal, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, and China.

red panda facts
Source: Pixabay

There are fossils of red panda in North America.

We all know that wild red pandas today only live in Asia. However, some of the red panda’s fossils that are more than 5 million years old are discovered in North America.

The Smithsonian's National Zoo in the U.S. has red pandas.

At the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s Asia Trail, red pandas eat bamboo all day long along with fruits such as apples and grapes and fed leaf-eater biscuits.

The red panda is a nocturnal animal.

red panda facts
Source: Unsplash

The red panda is a nocturnal creature and it’s normally active from dusk to dawn. Most of the day, it will rest in trees to conserve its energy since most of its diet is low in calories.

Red pandas are classified in its own unique family.

Before, red pandas are classified as a relative of raccoons and even to the giant panda. However, according to National Geographic, red pandas are placed to their own unique family—the Ailuridae.

Red pandas are the last Ailuridae.

Ailuridae is a family in the mammal order Carnivora, an order of placental mammals that eats flesh. The French naturalist, Georges Cuvier, classified the Ailuridae as part of the raccoon family in 1825 and has been debated ever since. But now, the red panda is the only living representative of the Ailuridae since its relatives are already extinct.

Red pandas are not suitable as household pets.

Even if red pandas are adorable, they are not suitable as a household pet. They flourish better the wild. But in certain countries such as India and Nepal, some still keep them as pets.

Winter is the red pandas' favorite time of the year.

Red pandas love to play in the snow during the winter season and it’s their favorite time of the year. Red pandas can withstand cold temperatures even up to -30°C.

Red pandas can use their tails as "blankets."

During extremely cold weather, red pandas can use their long and bushy tail as a “blanket” to wrap around its body. They also use their tails to balance as they cross tree branches.

Master Shifu is a red panda.

One of the most popular characters in the animated movie Kung Fu Panda is Master Shifu. Many thought that Master Shifu was a raccoon, but it was told behind the camera that his character is inspired by the red panda.

Red pandas have 38 teeth.

red panda facts
Source: Pixabay

Red pandas have a big mouth in contrast to the size of its head. Furthermore, compared to the number of human teeth which is 32, red pandas have 38 teeth.

Their body length is over half a meter.

The red panda’s average body length is 20 to 25 in or 51 to 64 cm. Meanwhile, their tail length is between 11 to 19 in or 28 to 49 cm.

The red panda and the giant panda have something in common.

While they’re not in the same animal family, the red panda and the giant panda have something in common. That is their “false thumb” or an extension of the wrist bone. When red pandas go down from a tree, it goes head-first and rotates its ankle to perform its descent, making them one of the few climbing species on earth to do so.

Red pandas like to stay in mountainous mixed deciduous and conifer forests.

Red pandas prefer to live in mountainous places where trees and shrubs that seasonally shed leaves. They also like conifer forests that have long winters and moderate to high annual precipitation, most especially if it’s filled with bamboos.

The snow leopard is its main predator.

Apart from humans, its natural predators are the snow leopards and even the martens (weasel-like carnivores). Moreover, the cubs for the red panda are also subject to the birds of prey (species of bird that primarily hunt and feed on vertebrates) when they are hunting.

The red panda's name came from its color.

The name “red panda” is named from the color of its fur. The red panda also has its marks on its face with red ‘tear tracks’ from their eyes to the corner of its mouth.

The red 'tear tracks' have purpose.

red panda facts
Source: Pixabay

According to research, the red ‘tear tracks’ from the red panda’s eyes help them keep the bright sunlight out of their eyes. These tear tracks reflect the sun, providing them a better vision on a sunny day.

Red pandas are quiet.

In general, the red pandas are very quiet. However, some who experience close contact with the red pandas said that they can squeal, chirp, and huff-quack.

Male red pandas are territorial.

The male red pandas are known to be territorial. They would mark their territory using a strong odor from the scent gland. Much like the skunk’s strategy, red pandas also use it to repel predators.

The red panda is the first panda.

The red panda was named first as a “panda” before the giant panda. Red pandas got their name in 1825, 48 years ahead of the giant panda. The giant panda soon got its name due to its similarities to the red panda.

Red pandas clean themselves like a cat.

Red pandas clean themselves like how the regular cats do it by using their paws. It’s very adorable to see them in action while they are taking a bath!

Red pandas can't jump very high.

Although jumping is not the main strength of the red pandas, they have an excellent climbing ability. They’re good at looking for trees as a shelter to escape predators. They also love sunbathing on a very cold day. On top of that, red pandas are also good swimmers.

Red pandas reproduce around the age of 18 months.

They are sexually mature and can start reproducing at the age of 18 months. They become fully mature at around two to three years. During the breeding season, male and female red pandas usually mate with more than one partner. Their mating season occurs in mid-January to early March.

Female red panda prepares the nest before giving birth.

The mother gets ready and builds a nest for her baby a few days before birth. It collects grass, leaves, moss, and tree branches and arranged it in a tree stump or a hollow tree. The female panda gives birth around 112 days up to 158 days after the gestation period.

Red pandas can bore up to 4 cubs.

Female red pandas typically give birth in mid-June to late July and bore one to four cubs. Each cub can weigh about 110 to 130 g.

baby red panda and mother red panda, red panda facts
Photo from Adobe Stock

Female red panda becomes a busy mom after giving birth.

The mother cleans her newly born cubs right after giving birth. By doing so, she can identify each cub by its smell. During the first week, the mother will spend around 60% to 90% of her time in the nest with the cubs. She will start to leave the nest and return every few hours to feed and clean the cubs. The mother may often transfer the cubs to several nests and ensures to keep her cubs all clean.

The red panda has other names.

Aside from its other name, “lesser panda,” it’s also called the “red cat-bear,” or “red bear-cat,” and the “firefox.”

The Firefox browser's logo is a red panda.

mozilla firefox logo, red panda
Photo from dennizn on Adobe Stock

The logo of Firefox, Mozilla’s flagship browser, is a red panda. Initially, the company wanted the name “Firebird” to their browser but later found out that it was already taken by another company. So they chose Firefox instead!

Mozilla adopted two red pandas.

On 2010, two female red pandas were born at the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee. Mozilla adopted these two firefoxes, and later known as the “cutest Mozillians.”

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